The Boy from the House of Bread – Andrew Wilson

The Boy from the House of Bread by Andrew Wilson
Also by this author: 1 Corinthians for You
Published by B&H Publishing, B&H Kids on June 21, 2022
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories

Young Alex keeps hearing about a Man from the House of Bread who has miraculous powers, who heals the sick and walks on water. When Alex finally gets to witness the miracles and meet the Man, his life is forever changed.

With lyrical rhyme and quirky illustrations, The Boy from the House of Bread shares the story of Jesus' ministry in a compelling way, through the eyes and voice of an African boy. Walk with Alex through his bustling first-century world as he watches Jesus multiply bread and hears Him tell stories about loaves and call Himself the life-giving Bread. This recurring symbol fascinates both Alex and the reader, leaving children ages 4 to 8 (and the adults who read with them) thinking differently about not only the bread on their plates but the Man who makes miracles happen.

In this colorful, inviting picture book, pastor and author Andrew Wilson imagines a child’s experience witnessing aspects of Jesus’s life and ministry. Many books showcase a single miracle or just one moment in time, but The Boy from the House of Bread engages with multiple events, weaving in some of Jesus’s teaching throughout. The ongoing metaphor related to bread works well, and the text and illustrations are both appealing. The rhyme scheme is occasionally uneven, so parents may want to test it out prior to a read-aloud, but children will likely enjoy the rhymes and remember the book’s content better because of them.

My biggest critique is the unexpected mention of John the Baptist being beheaded. This reference is jarring within the jaunty rhyme scheme, and it’s also confusing in context. That page uses the repeated pronoun “they” for both the political leaders who killed John the Baptist and the religious leaders who plotted Jesus’s death, and someone who isn’t familiar with the biblical context could misunderstand this and think that the Jewish leaders brutally killed John the Baptist. I think this would have been best left out, and would improvise and change that part of the sentence if I was reading this to a young child.

The rest of the book goes through Jesus’s sham trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, finishing with a joyful emphasis on The Great Commission and Jesus’s power to change lives. Also, after the story ends, there is a note to parents with additional information. It includes Bible verses related to the story, suggests kid-friendly discussion questions, and explains the biblical connection with Simon of Cyrene that inspired this story. The choice to tell this story from the perspective of one of his sons is unique and memorable, and I appreciate how The Boy from the House of Bread will make more people aware of the connections between Africans and Jesus.